About the Award
The Award for Contributions to Graduate and Professional Education recognizes graduate and professional teachers for excellence in instruction; involvement of students in research and/or artistic activities, scholarship, and professional development; development of instructional programs; and advising and mentoring of students.
Barbara Welke received this award at the Distinguished Teaching Awards ceremony on April 17, 2018.
Each year, the Alumni Association is proud to join the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost in supporting the Distinguished Teaching Awards, which recognize the outstanding work of U of M educators. Recipients of the awards are inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers.
About Barbara Welke
- Department of History, College of Liberal Arts
- Law School, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
An historian with a taste for innovation, Barbara Young Welke has made her department more competitive in recruiting graduate students and transformed the departmental culture by, among other things, bringing greater fairness to TA and RA assignments.
“She puts the intellectual and professional development of the students as the highest priority,” notes a colleague.
Welke has advised and actively served on the committees of more than 40 Ph.D. students and twice served as director of graduate studies in history. In 2007 she became a professor of law as well as history.
As a founder and director of the U of M’s Program in Law and History, she helped it earn a national reputation. Also on the national front, she co-founded the American Society for Legal History’s Student Research Colloquium and the University of Pennsylvania’s Legal History Consortium, a forum for graduate students to present original work at other major institutions.
Welke also has led Wisconsin’s Hurst Institute in Legal History, a legal history “boot camp.” Most important to her, the roster of Hurst Fellows includes nine U of M Ph.D. students.
"She takes on big projects and is very brave about exploring new subjects with students, rather than sticking to a ‘safe’ course that she teaches again and again,” says a former advisee. “She models a kind of intellectual risk-taking that is critical to first-rate scholarship.”
“I care about my students, not only for their individual works of scholarship, but as individuals hoping and working to build successful, satisfying, and meaningful careers in history and law.”
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